The story below touched me as I think I would have done the same thing - put my full heart into Marley and done what I could to keep him. The-puppy-dog-place.com, where this article was taken from, is wonderful so please take a moment to check it out.
With permission, the article "Marley the Monster Mastiff Mix," originally posted at the-puppy-dog-place.com is reproduced below.
by Jenna (Waltham, Ma, U.S.A)
I spent weeks combing petfinder and other similar websites hoping to find a dog that would be good with dogs and children (so I could take the dog to work where there are three children and five small dogs) and hopefully wouldn't eat any of the ten cats in my home.
Weeks went by, I found lots of dogs, but none of them were exactly what I wanted. Problem is that a lot of stray dogs have no history, so it's hard for an overworked shelter to promise that any given dog isn't afraid of children or certain types of people.
I was hoping to find a Mastiff, however no one seemed to have any pure breds. I kept typing "Mastiff" into the field and getting this one particular dog... He was listed as
mastiff/lab... he was estimated to be about 8mos... cute as a button, but there was no info on him... but everyday during my search he turned up.
I finally called and asked about him. Every shelter worker in the place was in love with him. I don't know what happened but I just knew that he was the one. I made them promise not to give him away or put him down, and two days later I drove two
hours from Boston to Conneticut to get a dog that no one knew anything about.
The first day was hard. His leg was severely deformed and I was afraid of what it was going to cost to fix it or treat it, but he got around fine so I tried not to let it bother me. The biggest issue however, was that Marley didn't want to share his new "mommy" with the kitties... so he would attack them when I held them.
I didn't think things would work out. I was pretty sure I would have to bring him back. But when I really thought about it I realized I had three choices: Bring him back to Conn, where they would put him down since he had technically bit me, even though it was accidental, give him to a rescue group who would hopefully work with him and rehome him in a place with no cats, or I could put my heart and soul into this and try to help this dog who, in the 8mos he had spent on this earth had seen nothing but abuse and abandonment.
Within three days Marley knew sit,down, stay,leave it,go in your crate, and maybe a few others. We started walking off leash and interacting with only a few select cats. We got his leg x-rayed and discovered that before his growth plate had closed someone had taken a metal pole to his leg, breaking the growth plate and several other bones, and most likely to his skull, as one eye is slightly deformed also.
I shudder to think what this poor dog went through before the pound found him wandering the streets severely underweight and depressed.
I have had Marley for less than five months now. He almost never has to wear a leash, he follows me everywhere, keeps an eye on the kids I sit for and "babysits" my ferrets while I clean their cage. Marley is probably the biggest marshmallow I have ever met, but one night someone tried to get in my apartment, and the poor dog was so scared, but he barked for all he was worth to wake me up and make sure we were safe.
He protects the children when the Comcast guy comes (I think he just hates Comcast really =}) And his new thing is protecting my rescue kittens. I took in four, four-week old kittens, inevitably they got sick and I lost three. I managed to rescue one of the last two missing ones during all of this, but I couldn't put the new cat with the last failing cat because one was vetted and sick, the other had no medical.
Well they spent an entire night crying to each other, one lonely since he had just been taken from his mom, the other because all three of his siblings had just died. Marley, my enormous 80 pound, mastiff/pitt/lab mix spent the night running back and fourth between them giving them kisses and laying by the cage with them trying to keep them happy. Probably the most amazing thing I ever saw. I know that people think a dog is just a pet, but I would be lost with out my dog. Marley is my best friend, and everyone who meets him falls madly in love with him. He lays with me when I cry, helps me take care of my sick kittens who miss their mom, keeps my boyfriend's 5 year old daughter company (she says Marley is her best friend ever)
He rocks out to Tom Petty and Patsy Cline with me and makes me laugh all the time. I know I sound biased, but marley is the most amazing dog I have ever known. He has really proven that a rescued dog will love you eternally because before me all he ever knew was severe abuse and loneliness, now he's loved, and there is nothing in the world a dog wants more than love.